FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
Alabama’s second and final fall scrimmage will commence Saturday with a number of players facing a crucial performance as the Crimson Tide looks to finalize personnel decisions in various roles. Here are five for whom Saturday’s scrimmage would appear to be especially important:
Tua Tagovailoa: No, we’re not suggesting Jalen Hurts is anything other than a clear starter — he is. But Tagovailoa’s performance could still have a say in what his own role becomes. Does Nick Saban insert him only late in games with a win in hand, or does he get a first-half series at some point in September? Saban’s proven he’s willing to do the latter with a backup, but the trust has to be there. Saban has noted the final scrimmage will take on a game-like feel. What better time for Tagovailoa to show he can handle a more competitive setting than mop-up work?
Andy Pappastanos: The transfer kicker from Ole Miss obviously has some work to do if he’s going to claim the chance to fill Adam Griffith’s cleats. After Saban’s comments last weekend, it’s fairly clear that nothing’s clear about who is front-running here.
Najee Harris: The freshman running back should have a nice opportunity for reps, especially with Josh Jacobs presumably sidelined with a hamstring injury. This goes for any freshman, but if Harris wants to be in the “too good not to play” category at Saban’s Sunday morning staff meeting, Saturday is money day.
Robert Foster: Will the veteran receiver be a fixture in Brian Daboll’s offense? It doesn’t look certain, but he’s healthy and in the hunt with the season fast-approaching. In other words, as close as he’s ever been to a true breakthrough opportunity.
Raekwon Davis: The sophomore DL has put together some very strong practices, per sources, and has all but secured at least rotational status. Whether he’s one of the 11 starters against FSU remains to be seen, but he’ll be part of a feisty competition at the end position on Saturday.